Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

Vietnam: Japanese investors worry about inadequate infrastructure

December 2, 2008

Some 78% of Japanese businesses said roads in Vietnam need to be improved while 60% said the power supply and 45% said seaports need to be upgraded.

VietNamNet Bridge – The Japan Bank for International Cooperation’s (JBIC) survey in the 2008 fiscal year reveals that Japanese investors continue to worry about underdeveloped infrastructure in Vietnam, particularly roads, ports and power systems.

JBIC’s survey was compiled based on 620 questionnaires collected from Japanese companies overseas. According to the survey, 2008 is the third consecutive year that Vietnam ranks third among countries and regions that have medium-term business potential, after China and India.

 

Low labour cost is still the main reason why Japanese investors see Vietnam as a country with investment potential. Other elements include market development potential, risk diversification, and abundant human resources.

 

However, according to Matsuda Noriyasu, chief representative of JBIC in Vietnam, many Japanese investors say labour costs in Vietnam have increased and become a new concern.

 

Notably, only 48% of Japanese businesses appreciate the “market development potential” of Vietnam, compared to 53.4% last year.

 

Matsuda Noriyasu said Japanese companies continue to worry about underdeveloped infrastructure in Vietnam, especially roads, ports and power. “This is the most serious matter to Japanese producers,” JBIC’s survey noted.

 

Some 78% of Japanese businesses said roads in Vietnam need to be improved while 60% said the power supply and 45% said seaports need to be upgraded.

Read the rest:
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/politics/2008/12/816504/

Massive Public Spending Hoped To End Global Recession

November 29, 2008

In a bid to jump-start the beleaguered global economy, countries around the world are introducing massive public spending programs aimed at creating millions of jobs, boosting the use of green energy and modernizing infrastructure in a way that could transform urban and rural landscapes.

The viability of some of the plans remains unclear. But observers say the number of countries moving in tandem underscores the perceived severity of the coming global recession and the view that governments must at least temporarily pick up the slack as the hard-hit private sector sheds jobs and cuts spending. 

 

By Anthony Faiola
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 29, 2008; Page D01

It is time “to invest massively in infrastructure, in research, in innovation, in education, in training people, because it is now or never,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a recent public address.

World leaders are pursuing a variety of strategies to tame the economic crisis, including moves to unclog credit markets, strengthen financial institutions and ease monetary policy. But fiscal stimulus packages, in particular, have emerged as a favorite tool of policymakers. Some countries’ plans are particularly bold: China is accelerating projects to build more nuclear power plants and a vast natural gas pipeline; Italy may erect the first bridge connecting Sicily to mainland Europe.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/28
/AR2008112802660.html?hpid=topnews

FDR and Obama: Similar in Anticipated Trouble, Hope?

November 21, 2008

Americans knew they were in for hard times when they elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  They were seeking hope.  But they had no idea of what really God had placed ahead.

Most of this is from Wikipedia:

FDR was the the thirty-second President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt were related but only distantly. They were fifth cousins. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems.

Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until almost 1940, the programs he initiated such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continue to have instrumental roles in the nation’s commerce. One of his most important legacies is the Social Security system.

As Britain warred with Nazi Germany, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before America’s entry into World War II in December, 1941. On the home front he introduced price controls and rationing, and relocation camps for 120,000 Japanese-Americans. Roosevelt led the United States as it became the ‘Arsenal of Democracy‘. Roosevelt, working closely with his aide Harry Hopkins, made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies. America had a vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, and new opportunities opened for African-Americans and women. The new Conservative coalition argued unemployment disappeared and closed most relief programs like the Works Progress Administratio (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps. As the Allies neared victory, Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations.

FDR consoled America through the Pearl Harbor attack and empowered engineers and scientists to create the atomic bomb.

Through all of FDR’s many trials he was crippled and in a wheel chair or in heavy steel braces.

Barack Obama’s tasks might be tall but as we compare him to FDR we should be cautious.

Related
“American Press has Turned Into a Joke” Comparing Obama To FDR, Lincoln

Japan, U.S. Navy Express Disappointment, Regret At Failure of Missile Defense Test “At the Last Second”

November 20, 2008

The Navy of Japan and the United States Navy as well as the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) expressed disappointment and  after a missile defense test failure over the Pacific Ocean November 20, 2008.

By William Cole
The Honolulu Advertiser

A missile fired by the Japanese destroyer Chokai yesterday failed to intercept a ballistic missile target off Kaua’i in a second test of Japan’s ship-based Aegis ballistic missile defense system.
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The $55 million exercise paid for by Japan was intended to knock down a simulated ballistic missile in which the warhead separated from the booster.

But Rear Adm. Brad Hicks, the Aegis system program manager for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said an “anomaly” occurred in the fourth stage of flight by the Standard Missile-3 Block 1A seeker missile.

A kinetic warhead released by the missile found and tracked the simulated ballistic missile, but in the last few seconds it “lost track” of the target, Hicks said.

 
This is the ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific missile range facility (PMRF) in Hawaii.  Photo: MICHAEL BEJARANO | Sandia National Laboratories

“The missile, until the very end of flight, had excellent performance,” Hicks said.

Hicks said an investigation will determine “if it was just that individual missile, or something that we need to take a look at.”

The Aegis ballistic missile defense system has been successful in 16 of 20 attempts.

Hicks said the same type of missile, fired by the Pearl Harbor cruiser Lake Erie, was used to successfully shoot down a failing U.S. spy satellite in February.

“This system works,” said Hicks, adding the success rate is good compared to other U.S. missiles.

On Dec. 17 off Kaua’i, the Japanese destroyer Kongo shot down a ballistic missile target, marking the first time that an allied naval ship successfully intercepted a target with the sea-based Aegis weapons system.

That target was a nonseparating simulated ballistic missile. Officials said yesterday’s target separated from a booster, making it harder to discriminate.

At 4:21 p.m., the ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The Japanese destroyer Chokai detected and tracked the target using an advanced on-board radar, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

The Pearl Harbor-based destroyer Paul Hamilton also participated in the test.

The Aegis Weapon System developed a fire-control solution, and at 4:24 p.m., a single SM-3 Block IA was launched. The Chokai was about 250 miles off Barking Sands in Kaua’i, and the intercept was to occur about 100 nautical miles above earth in the mid-course phase of the ballistic missile’s trajectory.

Approximately two minutes later, the SM-3 failed to intercept the target. The Chokai crew performance was “excellent” in executing the mission, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

The Japanese ship will stop in Pearl Harbor before returning to Japan with additional SM-3 Block 1A missiles.

Hicks said Aegis ballistic missile defense is a certified and deployed system in the U.S. Navy, and certified and operational in Japan’s navy.

Eighteen U.S. cruisers and destroyers and four Japanese ships are being outfitted with the Aegis ballistic missile defense capability.

On Nov. 1, during the exercise “Pacific Blitz,” the Hawai’i-based destroyers Hamilton and Hopper fired SM-3 missiles at separate targets launched from Kaua’i.


Above: USS Hopper

Hamilton scored a direct hit, while the missile fired by the Hopper missed its target, the Navy said.

Hicks yesterday said the missiles fired from the ships were older rounds going out of service, and the Navy took the opportunity to use them as training rounds “knowing that they carried a higher probability of failure.”

Related:
Japan-U.S. missile defense test fails

Japan-U.S. missile defense test fails

November 20, 2008

A Japanese warship failed to shoot down a ballistic missile target in a joint test with U.S. forces Wednesday because of a glitch in the final stage of an interceptor made by Raytheon Co, a U.S. military official said.

The kinetic warhead’s infrared “seeker” lost track in the last few seconds of the $55 million test, about 100 miles above Hawaiian waters, said U.S. Rear Admiral Brad Hicks, program director of the Aegis sea-based leg of an emerging U.S. anti-missile shield.

By Jim Wolf, Reuters

A missile is launched from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ... 
A missile is launched from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship Chokai in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii November 20, 2008.(Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force/Handout/Reuters)

“This was a failure,” he said in a teleconference with reporters. It brought the tally of Aegis intercepts to 16 in 20 tries.

The problem “hopefully was related just to a single interceptor,” not to a systemic issue with the Standard Missile-3 Block 1A, the same missile used in February to blow apart a crippled U.S. spy satellite, Hicks said.

Military officials from both countries said in a joint statement there was no immediate explanation for the botched intercept of a medium-range missile mimicking a potential North Korean threat. The test was paid for by Japan, Hicks said.

John Patterson, a spokesman at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, said the company would not comment pending the results of an engineering analysis of what may have gone wrong.
The test involved the Chokai, the second Japanese Kongo-class ship to be outfitted by the United States for missile defense, and a dummy missile fired from a range on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.


Above: Chokai

North Korea‘s test-firing of a ballistic missile over Japan in August 1998 spurred Tokyo to become the most active U.S. ally in building a layered shield against missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081120/wl_nm/us_japan_usa_mis
sile;_ylt=AtR6dVwzdhOKirAsXFcgsFSs0NUE

China tops Japan as No. 1 holder of U.S. Treasury debt for first time

November 18, 2008

Like nearly everyone else, the Chinese wanted the security of holding short-term U.S. Treasury bills in September as markets worldwide crumbled.

With China’s purchases of T-bills that month, the country surpassed Japan to become the No. 1 owner of U.S. Treasury debt, according to government data reported today on foreign investment in U.S. securities.

The September numbers overall confirm that foreigners still regard the U.S. as the best haven in times of international financial crisis.

Los Angeles Times
Money and Business

Net foreign purchases of long-term U.S. securities, including stocks and bonds, totaled $66.2 billion in September, up from $21 billion in August and $18.4 billion in July, Treasury data show.

As the global credit crisis worsened, slamming stocks, commodities and other markets, many investors put safety of principal above all other considerations. That pushed them into short-term U.S. Treasuries.

China increased its Treasury investments by $43.6 billion in September, lifting the total to $585 billion and taking the No. 1 spot among all foreign holders.

Japan, by contrast, reduced its Treasury holdings by $12.8 billion, to $573.2 billion.

Read the rest:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2008/11/like-everyone-e.html

Bush criticized on Iraq, N.Korea

November 18, 2008

President Bush’s efforts to resolve two major foreign-policy challenges in his waning days in office have prompted double-barreled criticisms, with leaders here and abroad questioning concessions his administration has made to Iraq and North Korea.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton said Monday that he was “deeply troubled” by a pending status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) with Iraq because it could result in American troops being prosecuted in Iraqi courts.

Across the globe, Japan and South Korea have gone public with rare dissent, saying they are worried over an agreement on how to verify North Korean pledges to give up making fuel for nuclear weapons.

Mr. Skelton, the leading House Democrat responsible for the U.S. military, said: “I do not believe it was wise to push off major decisions about the legal protections U.S. troops would have in such cases or the crimes for which they could be charged.”

By Sara A. Carter and Nicholas Kralev 
The Washington Times

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
nov/18/bush-criticized-on-iraq-nkorea/

General Hints China’s Navy May Add Carrier

November 17, 2008

A high-ranking Chinese military official has hinted that China’s fast-growing navy is seeking to acquire an aircraft carrier, a move that would surely stoke tensions with the United States military and its allies in Asia.

In an interview published in The Financial Times of London on Monday, the official, Maj. Gen. Quan Lihua, did not say whether China was in fact building a carrier. But the general, a senior official of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, said having one was the dream of any great military power. He suggested that the United States had nothing to fear should China acquire one for strictly defensive purposes.

By Andrew Jacobs
The New York Times     

“The question is not whether you have an aircraft carrier, but what you do with your aircraft carrier,” he said in the interview. “Even if one day we have an aircraft carrier, unlike another country we will not use it to pursue global deployment or global reach.”

In recent years, Pentagon officials have been warily following Beijing’s ambitious naval buildup. Since 2000, China has constructed at least 60 warships, and its fleet of 860 vessels includes about 60 submarines.


USS Ronald Reagan

Tensions between China and the United States were heightened last month after the Pentagon announced the sale of $6 billion in advanced weapons to Taiwan. China reacted angrily to the news, warning that the move could worsen relations between the countries. The deal includes Apache attack helicopters and a sophisticated array of missiles, radars and antiaircraft defense systems.

In the interview, the general insisted that China would not deploy a carrier with aggressive intent. “Navies of great powers with more than 10 aircraft carrier battle groups with strategic military objectives have a different purpose from countries with only one or two carriers used for offshore defense,” he said.

Although he did not mention any country by name, his comments were clearly aimed at the United States, which has 11 aircraft carriers, including the USS George Washington, which was recently deployed to Japan. Of the handful of other nations that have aircraft carriers, including Britain, France, Italy and Russia, none have more than two.


Above: USS George Washington

Related:
Could China’s Envey of U.S. Aircraft Carriers Now Be a Construction Project?

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/
world/asia/18china.html?_r=1&hp

Japan Slides Into Recession; Obama Presidency Seen as No Help

November 17, 2008

Japan’s economy slid into a recession for the first time since 2001, the government said Monday, as companies sharply cut back on spending in the third quarter amid the unfolding global financial crisis.

The world’s second-largest economy contracted at an annual pace of 0.4 percent in the July-September period after a declining an annualized 3.7 percent in the second quarter. That means Japan, along with the 15-nation euro-zone, is now technically in a recession, defined as two straight quarters of contraction.

The result was worse than expected. Economists surveyed by Kyodo News agency had predicted gross domestic product would gain an annualized 0.1 percent.

Japan’s Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano said following the data’s release that “the economy is in a recessionary phase.”

But the worst may be yet to come, especially with dramatic declines in demand from consumers overseas for Japan’s autos and electronics gadgets. Hurt also by a strengthening yen, a growing number of exporters big and small are slashing their profit, sales and spending projections for the full fiscal year through March.

Toyota Motor Corp., for example, has cut net profit full-year profit forecast to 550 billion yen ($5.5 billion) — about a third of last year’s earnings. And Sony Corp., whose July-September profit plunged 72 percent, expects to make 59 percent less this fiscal year than last year.

“What we’re starting to see is the extent of deterioration in external demand start to weigh more heavily on the Japanese economy,” said Glen Maguire, chief Asia economist at Societe Generale. “And I think looking forward, there’s every indication that dynamic is going to continue.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081117/ap_on_bi_ge/as_jap
an_economy;_ylt=ApHIyzOiyEFeB_wFtelfrris0NUE

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For Japan, Obama Signals A Shift Closer to China, Away From “Traditional” Asian Allies
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The Japanese do not share the jubilation seen almost everywhere following the election of Barack Obama. 

Economically, Japan sees an Obama White House funding the American Big Three Automakers: GM, Chrysler and Ford.  And that’s bad for Japan’s automakers.

Japan, for one nation, prefers to allow the “system” to work without more government intervention.

On the foreign policy level, Japan fears North Korea’s erratic behavior and nuclear capability.  It also fears China as a tradition enemy of immense wealth, population and size which can easily overwhelm the economy of Japan.

Japan fears the presidency of Barack Obama.  “So far, no good,” one senior diplomat told Peace and Freedom.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapal, Virginia

Related:
Obama Not Such A Hero In Japan

Obama Not Such A Hero In Japan

November 16, 2008

Like millions of Americans, I watched the scene in Chicago’s Grant Park on election night, as President-elect Barack Obama delivered his victory speech, with a real sense of hope that something fundamental was changing. A few hours later, I began receiving e-mail messages from friends in Europe who were overjoyed by the choice American voters had made.

By Ayako Doi
The Washington Post
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And the next day, the world’s excitement was visible in news stories, photos and television images broadcast from around the globe — with one striking exception.

Surfing Japanese news Web sites for commentaries on the Obama victory from a key U.S. ally, I was taken aback by the skeptical, even negative, tone that prevailed. “Obama Likely to Stress Importance of China,” read one headline in the mass-circulation daily Yomiuri Shimbun, implying that the new administration will relegate Japan to the foreign policy back seat. The economic daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun fretted about the likelihood that the Democratic president and Congress may concoct a massive rescue package for troubled U.S. automakers and about the potential fallout for the Japanese car industry. Everyone seemed to agree that Obama, who has talked about withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq to concentrate on Afghanistan, may well put pressure on Japan to send ground troops to the latter country — something the nation’s postwar pacifist leaders don’t feel prepared to do.

President George W. Bush (L) sits alongside Japan's Prime Minister ... 
President George W. Bush (L) sits alongside Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso at the G20 Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy at the National Building Museum in Washington November 15, 2008.(Jason Reed/Reuters)

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/13
/AR2008111302975.html